We asked some of our friends to tell us about their favorite books to celebrate Earth Day! Some include activities that correspond with their picks. We think you’ll find some fun ideas and useful recommendations to assist in teaching your littles about how to take care of the earth every day. Happy Earth Day!
Kristen’s Picks from @Makoshey
I chose two books that highlight two inspiring women who have dedicated their lives to protecting the planet. Both of these books live in our kitchen book bin and my kids reach for them over and over again.
This beautifully illustrated picture book biography describes how Sylvia Earle’s childhood curiosity about plant and animal life grew into a deep passion to explore and protect “the blue heart of the planet.” The detailed illustrations invite readers to swim along as the author tells about Sylvia’s pioneer use of scuba gear, her two-week underwater adventure, deep water walks, and observations of all the marine life around her. The Author’s Note at the end of the book contains more information about the risks our oceans face and Sylvia’s environmental protection efforts.
Seeds of Change: Wangari’s Gift to the World, by Jen Cullerton Johnson and illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler.
This inspiring book, another picture book biography, follows the life of Wangari Maathai, Kenyan environmentalist and activist. The book tells the story of Wangari’s love for nature and her determination, first to get an education and later to save the environment. We love the gorgeous artwork and the empowering message that one individual’s efforts can truly make a big impact. Wangari founded the Green Belt Movement, which has now planted 51 million trees in Kenya, and she is the first African woman and first environmentalist to win a Nobel Prize.
Gail’s Picks from @Lessonswithmylittle
This book is the perfect text to explain ways children can help save the world. Each page offers a different way to help the Earth from turning off the water and lights to recycling. The simple language and detailed illustrations makes this book accessible to children of all ages. The message to children is that their actions can help save the Earth.
While reading this story, ask your child to talk to describe what is happening in the pictures. For example, you might ask, “What are the children holding on their hands or what are they doing with their hands?” After reading, ask what are a few way they can help save the Earth. Help them connect the actions of the children in the story to their everyday life.
Discuss ways we can help the Earth by helping to clean up our lawn/neighborhood. We’ll discuss why throwing trash on the ground is harmful to the Earth. On trash day, we will go outside to pick up trash that has flown around the neighborhood. Our goal will be to fill at least one bag.
Melissa’s Picks from @Storytime_mama
A fun and colorful book for young readers with simple text and suggestions to help take care of the Earth and why it’s important. The back reviews and lists “10 Ways I Can Help the Earth”.
After reading this book we like to use pouch tops, water bottles caps, or rubber bands in a tray of water (our pond or river) as “trash” and “recyclables”. Then, use tongs or chopsticks to pick them up and put in the “recycling” bin (a cup). This is great for hand eye coordination, fine motor control, and focus as well!
Michael Recycle and Michael Recycle Meets Litterbug Doug both by Ellie Bethel and illustrated by Alexandra Colombo
These books are my favorite way to introduce recycling and Earth day themes. Fun, rhyming read alouds about a green-caped super hero teaching a town how to take care of the Earth by reducing, reusing and recycling! The back has more in depth description of Michael Recycle’s Go Green Tips for older children.
After reading this book we like to play a game of picking up “litter”. Throw balled up socks all around the room/house (cringe here lol). Then tie a dish towel or cape on the child and let them be the superhero like Michael Recycle and collect all the socks/litter in a bag! This is a great gross motor game to get them moving while also learning about taking care of the Earth.
This book is a Jewish folktale about a little boy growing out of his special blanket his grandfather made him. His mother tells him over and over to “throw it out”, but the boy knows his grandfather can turn it into something new. This story reinforces reusing and creativity.
After reading this book we like to collect our own recyclables and sort them (paper, plastic, glass) and create something new with the items. For example: We reused Daddy’s old golf balls and a cereal box for an art project.
Monique’s Picks from @nannymissmonique
Inspired by true events, a young girl finds hope in an abandoned lot. With the help of a special friend, her dedication inspires a community to transform it into a beautiful garden.
From the roots to the branches, we are more like the trees than we think. When we stand together like a forest, we rise higher and flourish.
Annie’s Picks from @Play2daychi
Planet Earth takes a visit to each of his friends in the solar system. After seeing they each have something very special, Earth starts to feel boring. His friends remind him why he is the most special planet of all!
Wangari grew up in Africa with trees and plants all around her. After going away for school, she returns to find the trees gone and buildings in their place. Wangari decides to start small, planting trees in her backyard. Her small actions grow throughout her country and empower others to protect and preserve the land.
Paint the earth! What you’ll need: paper plate, red marker, blue and green paint.
On the paper plate, draw a red heart in the middle of the plate. Then, use blue and green paint to draw the water and the trees on our planet Earth. On a separate piece of paper, finish the sentence “I love the Earth because ________”
Click here to start your FREE 30 day Vooks trial! Search Earth Yay and Wangari’s Trees of Peace
Rosemary’s Picks from @hopscotchcity
This sweet and colorful book by Huda Harajli, MA is a great staple for your bookshelf. It explains different types of weather in a way that kids will understand. The illustrations are so cute using bright colors to keep even the littlest reader’s attention. Both of my daughters (19 months and 4 years old) enjoy this one!
“Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption”
This beautiful book is new to our collection but I can already tell it will be a favorite. I love that is inspired by true events and helps to teach empathy by helping children understand why we should care about keeping the earth clean.
“Carole Lindstrom, is an Anishinaabe/Métis author, who is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe Indians.” – Cynthia Leitich Smith. This is an important factor to me when purchasing books about under-represented or marginalized groups because this is their story to tell from their own experiences.
Clean the Water! Fill a bin with water and toss in some colorful craft pom poms. Have your little scoop or use tongs to remove the debris from the water. You can also have your child color-sort the pom poms afterwards.